CLARKSON, Roland Lebeg Townley

1889 - 1954

Roland Clarkson

Roland Lebeq Townley Clarkson was born at South Elmham, Beccles, Suffolk on 6 October 1889 and baptised at St James, South Elmham on 3 November 1889, only son of Lawrence Townley Clarkson (30 October 1857-1943), surveyor and estate agent, and his wife Annie Matilda Payne (1861-December 1890), second daughter of Revd William John Payne (died 1886), who married at Tendring Church, Essex on 1 September 1879. Roland was educated at Fauconberge School, Beccles and as a boy, became interested in astronomy, keeping notebooks and sketches from 1906, when he began observing in earnest, for almost 50 years, the British Astronomical Association now hold these observing notebooks. During the Great War, Clarkson was an Assistant Paymaster in the Royal Naval Reserve but later employed in the munitions factory of the Cotton Powder Company, near Davington in Kent and in 1918 elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society. Clarkson lived at various addresses around Essex and Suffolk, in 1922 at 25 Ballygate, Beccles but in 1924 they moved to 'The Old House', Dedham, Essex where his father ran the Old House private hotel. In 1929 was secretary of the local Liberal Association, living at 'The Poplars', Oakley, Eye, Suffolk but by 1932 had moved to Brome Road, Yaxley, Suffolk. Clarkson joined the Ipswich Section of the Chaldean Society and was a founder and president of the Ipswich and District Astronomical Society, a precursor of the Orwell Astronomical Society. In 1939, Roland was a 'publicity manager & secretary', living with his widowed father, at 'The Bungalow', Station Road, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe. He exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1944 an oil 'Billingford, Suffolk' (item 64), Billingford is actually in Norfolk. In his later years Clarkson fell on tough times and shortly before he died, a fund was set up to assist him, with astronomer Sir Patrick Moore as treasurer. Roland Lebeq Townley Clarkson died at Felixstowe General Hospital on 10 April 1954, aged 65, he was unmarried.